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Binays face new plunder raps

Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - September 1, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Vice President Jejomar Binay and his son, Makati Mayor Erwin Binay Jr., are facing another plunder charge before the Office of the Ombudsman.

The charge arises from the alleged misuse between 2004 and 2015 of tuition, miscellaneous fees and other funds totaling P547.420 million intended for the College of Applied Health Studies (formerly College of Nursing) of the University of Makati (UMak).

For allegedly conniving with the Binays, officials and officers of Philippine Healthcare Educators Inc. (PHEI) were also charged with plunder, malversation of public funds, graft and violation of the procurement law.

Complainant Renato Bondal has alleged that money was diverted to the private firm “in order to accumulate and/or amass ill-gotten wealth for themselves and/or for their co-conspirators.”

Nursing students were even made to pay grossly overcharged tuition and other fees currently ranging from P32,850 to P40,000 per semester, when UMak students taking other courses only pay P1,500 to P3,000 per semester, he added.

Nothing was irregular with the joint venture establishing the UMak College of Nursing, Joey Salgado, media affairs head of the Office of the Vice President, said in a statement.

The Vice President’s detractors have resorted to a new gimmick as people have lost interest in the Senate investigation on various corruption allegations against the Binays, he added.

Bondal’s new complaint is nothing but a “replay of his old Powerpoint presentations in the Senate,” Salgado said.

The malversation complaint filed against Mayor Binay is baseless, he added.

Mayor Binay is ready to respond to the latest allegations if only the Office of the Ombudsman is “fair and impartial,” Salgado said.

The joint venture establishing the UMak College of Nursing was made through a series of ordinances that the City Council had approved when the Vice President was the mayor and former Makati vice mayor Ernesto Mercado was the presiding officer, Salgado said.

“Why was Mayor Junjun Binay included when he was not the mayor at the time of the project?” he said.

“And why was Mercado not included when he was the one who shepherded the said city ordinances? Because this is selective prosecution. They would absolve their allies but if you are a Binay, they would drag you into the issue?”

Then Mayor Binay and other Makati officials were original shareholders because they represent the equity holdings of the city, not in their personal capacities, Salgado said.– With Helen Flores, Mike Frialde, Paolo Romero

ACIRC BINAY BINAYS CITY COUNCIL COLLEGE OF APPLIED HEALTH STUDIES COLLEGE OF NURSING MAYOR MAYOR BINAY OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN SALGADO VICE PRESIDENT
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